How Sweet It Is
Maple syrup production in Litchfield County
Maple-syrup production normally peaks in March. But great plumes of steam have been billowing forth from evaporators since January due to the mild early winter. One way to shamelessly indulge the real stuff is at area eateries. Arethusa Farm produces maple ice cream and yogurt using Litchfield’s Brookside Farm II syrup. Community Table’s chef Joel Viehland also uses Brookside when serving his homemade brioche French toast, and dribbles it more sparingly in sauce reductions, vinaigrettes, and desserts. “I’d rather use maple syrup because of its health benefits: it has antioxidants and nutrients, which refined sugar doesn’t,” he says. Ditto for New Milford Hospital, which procures its syrup from Maywood Farm in Bridgewater and Sullivan Farm in New Milford. “It’s better tasting and you also do not need to use as much because it’s thicker and spreads better,” says Chef Kerry Gold.
Sap from sugar maples is mostly water; it’s only two percent sugar. Once the water is boiled off, it leaves behind a concentrated sugary liquid that contains antioxidants and minerals like calcium, potassium, and zinc. It’s more sustainable than refined sugar, which comes from beets, sugar cane, and corn—cultivated through large-scale agriculture. One more thing: Connecticut’s maple-sugar producers garner top prizes at the International Maple Syrup contests. Sweet.